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The author recreates the Madrid of the early twentieth century, so as to place the painter Diego Rivera in that context. Diego Rivera was then a student of Eduardo Chicharro through a recommendation from the Mexican painter Dr. Atl. The author researches the painter’s first signs of his ability and talent, which were evident not only to his teacher but also to established artists such as Spanish painter Joaquín Sorolla. The author tells about Rivera being in attendance at the tertulias [round table discussions] in Madrid and his travels to the diverse Spanish provinces whose scenes he captured in paintings that are very well known in Mexico. It is in this manner that Rivera focuses on his first approach to cubism, as he leaves Madrid in order to settle in Paris.
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The text is interesting because it constitutes a direct testimony, due to the fact that Ceferino Palencia was also one of Eduardo Chicharro’s students, and shared the same living quarters with Diego Rivera in the famous painter Eduardo Chicharro’s study-workshop. Talking about Diego Rivera during those first years as a student (1906), Palencia says: “His superiority vis-à-vis all of us created such an undisputed authority that whenever we encountered difficulties or doubts regarding painting, at moments of tribulation we all turned to him when the teacher was absent.” Palencia portrays very vividly Diego Rivera’s everyday life in the multiple corners of the Madrid of that time, his integration, as well as his nostalgia for Mexico.